When I read your piece “You Want Maine Lobster” it brought back memories of my days of frequent trips to the Boston area. My biggest customer at the time (1971-1978 or so) was Air Force Systems Command at Hanscom AFB. I was there probably two times a month for several years, sometimes staying over a weekend if we were negotiating a contract or other lengthy meetings. We almost always had one dinner at a roadside restaurant along a dark rural stretch of some road, possibly 2A. I don’t remember the name of the place, but I always got a chicken lobster, fries and a beer or two. I think the bill was $10.00 (with one beer). I was usually with a couple of others and we usually shared a bucket of steamers as an appetizer. Those were the days!
We stayed at the area Howard Johnson (I don’t think it’s there anymore) so much that they kept our cooking gear for us between visits – a charcoal grill, bag of charcoal, foam ice chest and a bag of utensils and serving pieces. We usually got some nice rib eyes and salad greens and cooked on the patio outside one of our rooms. We would lay in groceries for the planned duration of our stay. I fear times have changed now.
When we had time we roamed the country, mostly from Fall River to see the naval ships, Cape Cod and up to Kennebunkport or so along the Maine coast. Yes, we did put in 50 hour weeks along the way. Most everyone that I traveled with is gone now, so I can tell the story any way I want.
My wife and I were there in 2012 on a fall tour and I got to show her some of the places she had heard so much about. We had two little girls at home and she passed up the (rare) opportunities she had to join me for a business event or to spend a weekend.
Just an FYI, I use a 410 for home defense and have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get some more ammo (00 or 000 buckshot). All sold out around here. Maybe the 410 is more popular for home defense than I thought – I doubt that people want 000 buck for squirrel or rabbit hunting, although the 410 is great for that with #6 shot.
Sorry, this started as a brief note and got long – poor self control.
All the best,
You’re telling me you want Maine Lobster. Lucky you, you’ve come to the right place. Allow me to set your table.
Before we dig in to that sweet, juicy, mouth-watering bite of warm buttered lobster, a word to the wise: Bigger isn’t necessarily better. It just means bigger, and oftentimes, bitter. The sweet spot is 1 1/2 lbs, give or take, and if you like the delectable red roe (coral), a female is for you.
Now, in terms of cook time, we’re getting into some well-charted waters. Boil or steam is up to you, I won’t judge (steam ‘em), but the cook time is the key. Personally, I don’t like my tail still wiggly or lobster Tatar so if it’s over or under you ask, I say err on the side of over.
But when in doubt, take Mark Bittman’s word in How to Cook Everything:
Plunge the lobster(s) into the pot, cover, and cook about 8 minutes for its first pound—from the time the water returns to the boil—and then an additional 3-4 minutes per pound thereafter…Lobster is done when the meat becomes opaque and firm, and the coral—which you only find in females—turns, well, coral-colored (it stays dark red until it is cooked). None of this does you any good if the lobster is whole, since you can’t see or feel the meat or the coral.
Welcome to the Holy Grail of lobster.
Here’s my tip of the day: When ordering for your family, don’t drive yourself crazy getting different sizes for each member. Go with one size. It’s easier to nail the cook time down and us New Englanders don’t mind sharing body parts as some prefer the tails over the claws (but that’s just crazy).
If you want to learn more about a loved one, watch them eat a lobster. Some don’t like to get their fingers dirty while others will lobster-body shame you with a stare that says: “If you’re not gonna eat that, then pass it over, buddy.” Nothing is wasted.
ACTION PLAN: Want to live the good “retirement” life rather than just “get” by? Hang with me and we’ll set sail monthly here.
Oh, and I almost forgot, Prosecco or Champagne? Yes.
Enjoy the cruise.